PSG brought crashing down to earth by Porto

Posted by Jonathan Johnson

Paris Saint Germain's Zlatan Ibrahimovic heads the ball past Porto's Alex SandroAPPSG's Zlatan Ibrahimovic heads the ball past Porto's Alex Sandro

Carlo Ancelotti's Paris Saint-Germain were brought crashing back down to earth in Portugal, suffering their first defeat of the season after an under-par performance against Porto at the Estadio do Dragao. The capital club approached the game with the Italian claiming that it would be their sternest test so far and it proved as much with PSG going down to a superb late finish from James Rodriguez after spending the majority of the match under considerable pressure.

The Portuguese champions now move clear at the top of Group A on six points, with PSG joined on three points by Dynamo Kiev, who beat Dinamo Zagreb 2-0 in Ukraine. The result cedes advantage to the 2004 champions in the battle for first place with PSG under pressure to deliver a big performance in Croatia on match week three.

Ancelotti continued his rotation policy, making a handful of changes to the side that beat Sochaux 2-0 in Ligue 1 at the weekend. Mamadou Sakho and Gregory Van der Wiel came into the defence, Clement Chantome was restored to the midfield, and Nene and Jeremy Menez were elected to support Zlatan Ibrahimovic in attack.

However, PSG spent much of the game defending with Porto dominating from the start and goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu had to be alert after just two minutes when Rodriguez touched a Silvestre Varela cross from the left goalwards. Things could have gotten worse as Marco Verratti was caught in possession on the edge of his own area but luckily for the pint-sized Italian, Joao Moutinho's shot lashed into the side netting and not the back of the net.

Thiago Silva got a yellow card for a foul on Varela as PSG began to creak under serious pressure, but they did manage to muster their first attack as Ibrahimovic headed just wide from a Nene cross. The big Swede, who turned 31 on Wednesday should have done better. However, he got a chance to redeem himself when played in by Menez five minutes later but saw the craftiest of flicks turned over by Helton.

The pivotal Moutinho pulled the strings and PSG were unable to get a hold on the game and as a result the attack were left isolated as the midfield searched for the ball. Porto were much the better side in the first half and they had the opening chance of the second period, with Moutinho and Varela delightfully playing in Rodriguez, whose effort was scrambled away by a lunging Sakho as it narrowly missed Sirigu's right-hand post. The defence were on the ropes at this point as Porto controlled the game looking for openings.

Rodriguez missed another chance on the hour and seconds later the Colombian turned provider for Varela, who was denied by the superb Sirigu. Ancelotti's famous brow was furrowed and he attempted to change things by replacing the disappointing Van der Wiel with Christophe Jallet. However, Jallet was given an even rougher ride on the right by Porto's flying Ghanaian substitute Christian Atsu, who skipped away from the French international before sending in a shot from an angle on the left that Sirigu beat away.

Freshly returned from injury and looking to put a disappointing start to his PSG career behind him, there was frustration for Ezequiel Lavezzi, who made his return in place of Menez in the 73rd minute. In a bizarre sequence the Argentine was forced to make way for compatriot Javier Pastore seven minutes later, apparently due to a thigh injury. His frustration upon leaving the field evident as he proceeded to kick an ice bucket in anger and was later seen strapping his thigh.

The changes unsettled PSG further and the defence finally gave way when a Moutinho cross from the left came all the way to Rodriguez on the other side of the box, and his controlled left-footed volley flew past a helpless Sirigu.

On reflection it was a fair result with PSG receiving a much-needed dose of reality. Yes, the team have been fantastic in recent weeks but Ancelotti's men are by no means the finished article. If they are to really dominate French domestic football and make an impression in Europe then they will have to learn to win games like these or at least avoid defeat.

The result a reminder that the team are not impenetrable at the back and Ibrahimovic cut a frustrated figure up front at times despite his glaring miss. No matter, all is not lost and a strong result in Zagreb will see PSG retain their position as strong favourites to progress alongside the victors.

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